The Peril of Precedent, Israel and the Peace Talks

Download this story in Microsoft Word format here.

Click photo to download. Caption: Dovid Efune.

A day after recent low level “peace talks collapsed, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the Arab world through his official Facebook page. Responding to questions from the Palestinian Authority-linked Ma’an News Agency, he declared that he was ready to “go to Ramallah” for talks with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas blamed Israel for the PA withdrawal from the talks. Saying, according to the Associated Press, that Israel failed to present detailed proposals for borders and security requested by international mediators. Netanyahu responded by pointing out that the PA representatives “refused to even discuss” Israeli security needs. In the past, this pattern has been fairly consistent; the PA, or previously the PLO, agrees to talks and inevitably withdraws at some point or other, pointing fingers at the Israelis. The Israelis refer to Arab entrenchment and almost always call for a continuation of “peace talks.”

In Prime Minister Netanyahu’s now famous speech to Congress last year, which followed the PA’s aggressive campaign to gain legitimacy for its continued efforts to attack Israel diplomatically, he passionately proclaimed, “Now again I want to make this clear. Israel is prepared to sit down today and negotiate peace with the Palestinian Authority.”

This repeated cycle might cause one to wonder, “Does Israel actually have a ‘red line’?” Meaning, is there anything that the Arabs could do that would prompt Israel to demand the situation be remedied before agreeing to, or calling for, a return to discussions?

An entire generation of Palestinians has been fed a steady diet of vile hate, and it is clear that the incitement and education of Arab children to kill Jews precludes the possibility of establishing any form of peaceful living arrangement between Arabs and Israelis. Fatah TV recently broadcast a message saying that “Our children... were created to be fertilizer for the land of Palestine, and for our pure land to be saturated with their blood.” The PA TV program, For You, hosted a congratulatory ceremony for the convicted Fogel family murderers, who slaughtered an Israeli family in 2011, including a 4-month-old baby girl.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s response was conciliatory in tone, when the following was posted on his Twitter feed: “We hope the Palestinian Authority decides to resume the talks and back away from terror and glorification of killers.” 

Of course, this tone is a reflection of Israel’s ever-present hunger for peace. It conveys a message to the world that Israel desires nothing more than to live in harmony with its neighbors. However, as a byproduct, there is another dangerous signal that has been received. It tells world powers that Israel is prepared to accept the ongoing travesty of teaching children to hate and murder.

However, if Israel instead responded to PA-sanctioned anti-Semitism by boycotting engagement with the PA, perhaps the quartet powers would re-consider the value of political interests versus the purity of a child’s mind.

The author is the director of the Algemeiner Journal and the GJCF, and can be e-mailed at defune@gjcf.com. Visit www.algemeiner.com for more information.

Posted on February 13, 2012 and filed under Israel, Opinion.